Spaghetti alla Napoletana
A typical sugo - red sauce of southern Italy
Spaghetti alla Napoletana is a fairly typical dish of southern Italy. The sauce can have some meat in it, or be completely vegan. Some families will cook larger, bite-sized chunks of meat in the sugo, and will then have these as their secondo piatto with a salad or contorni (veg). Any pasta that holds sauce will do nicely. The chillies give it a kick reminiscent of arrabbiata.
Italian sausage - the decent stuff from a deli, NOT supermarket ones! I'm using prosciutto; it's what I had in the fridge. Anything with a good flavour and some fat will work. Vegans - this isn't vital
meat - optional
Watch the video
Finely chop the celery and garlic for your sofritto
fry until soft
Add the sausage or prosciutto or pancetta during this
When the sofritto is soft, add the meat - if you're using any
Give it a good stir
When the meat is browned, add the chopped tomatoes
Add about a glass of red wine - I pour it into the tomato tin to clean out whatever is still in there
Stir it all through and add some salt and pepper. This dish needs no sugar
Let it cook for about 10 minutes, then add almost a tube of tomato purée
Stir that through then add quite a lot - I used around 1 litre - of hot water. In general, unless the recipe calls for it, don't add cold water to dishes you're cooking; it pulls everything down i temperature and disrupts the process
Add the chillies and the oregano - I generally dust it to cover the surface of the pan - sparsely, not a blanket!
Stir through, bring to the boil, then simmer for at least an hour. The longer the better - I like to do about 3 hours
Before you drain your pasta, add a ladle or so to the sugo - which by now is a thick, rich loveliness
Drain the pasta and put it into the sauce, or - if the pasta pot is more convenient, put it back in the pot and add the sugo to the pasta. With some dishes it's better/more practical to add pasta to sauce, but don't fret about TV chefs saying how vital it always is; it isn't.